Amateur approach shot trends, reliable studies, fallacies, ramifications, etc...

Daddio

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Concerning amateur golfers and approaches into greens. Wondering if anyone else put some time into analyzing their own trends and results and what might be some of the better comprehensive data studies available by professional sources? After reading quite a few assertations and reasons in here ('ams are 15 yards short all day' 'ams should hit more club' 'short misses are better than long' yada yada) I took it upon myself to see if that was really the case for me. Also kinda knew that the ams supposedly coming up short all day weren't the ones joining the skins games I play in, unfortunately, and we're just regular hacks ranging from 5ish-25ish.

After digging through my data (I'm an 11 or 12) my misses do tend to favor short, but just by a small amount, less if I account for shots that came up short because I caught a limb. But what did seem to prove out is the claim that short misses are less injurious to the score card than long misses are.

What have you all discovered if you've investigated your tendencies and results?
 

Snowman

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According to my GHIN stats for 2021 so far (62 rounds total counted), my GIR% is 35%. I miss short 35% of the time, right 12% of the time, left 10% of the time and long 8% of the time. From knowing my own game, I know that a lot of those short misses are results of mishits (either on the tee shot or on the approach shot itself) rather than under-clubbing on the approach shot.

I don't use Grint or any of the more advanced stat tracking apps, but from experience I can tell you that missing long on my home course (where I play most of my rounds) is definitely far more injurious to the score than missing short. In most cases, knowing that it's better to miss short than long factors strongly into my course management/club selection decisions. I play to the fattest part of the green - I don't hunt pins unless it's an absolute green light situation, my primary goal on an approach shot is usually to have a putter in my hand for the next stroke, regardless of how long that putt might be.
 

Raiderboost

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I don’t have any stats but I know my predominant miss is short. Most of those are do to catching it a little chunky. I much prefer to hit a full hard shot taking some off of one because I will tend to back off too much or at the last minute get that thought in my head and hit it too hard.

Generally I’m pretty good with my distances though and probably above average in my range to getting it to pin high. I do know when to take a little more club to ensure I carry if there is trouble short. At my home course there is only really a couple holes that that matters though as most are trouble if you go long.
 

WLG1952

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No stats, just know that most of the time I'm either long, left, or right. How far left, or right is the par/bogey part.

When I am short, it's usually because of a fattie

I see distances, and take one more club..
 

McLovin

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my miss is short. generally that is much better than long, and can be better than left or right.
 

DataDude

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I am like @Snowman, my home course is more penal long on approach. Our greens are all raised and they almost all somewhat slant toward the approach angle. If your long you have to chip onto a surface a 2'-5' feet above your ball and stop it on a slope moving away from you. Basically long is the short sided miss on my course so I miss short.

When I play courses that have big green complexes and long is a good miss I will definitely club up to miss long though.
 

fuffle master

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What’s odd is I totally know I am usually short on my go to irons, but I never just club up like I should.

Perfect example is my 8i

AA100238-9F90-40D4-960F-2F9FA9E2AA58.jpeg
 

Scott F

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I’m pretty good with my carry distances. Lately, a lot of my approach shots wind up long because the greens have been so hard, they aren‘t holding shots very well. It’s even been hard to find any ball marks. I do take into consideration where the danger lies if I go offline, over or short of the green.
 

Snickerdog

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My main miss is left, 33% short is 11% right is 10% and long 6%. 40% of the time I hit the green but working on getting that to 60% or better this year. Getting up and down from missed greens is what keeps me in the game.
 

GraniteRoost

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I was surprised that my Short : Long ratio was relatively balanced... I generally prefer to be short than long, but also feel like I have decent distance control. My left preference makes sense as I tend to draw the ball.

1620180477653.png
 

rumstove

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My miss is short or right. Like others mentioned being short is far easier to recover from than being long. On quite a few holes if I miss long I'm standing in the rough well below the green and can barely see the green surface, or can't see it at all. If I miss short it's an easier chip/bump and run onto the green.
 

DG_1234

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Players with scoring averages above 75 tend to club themselves for a solid-pure strike and the result is usually a miss short of the green. The higher the handicap index the player the more often he seems to leave approach shots short of the green.
Amateurs usually say "why should I club myself expecting a mishit shot?" The answer is that if one mishits 80% of his shots then he should absolutely expect and, or, club himself for a mishit. In other words, swinging 7-iron instead of 8-iron will result in more greens-in-regulation achieved.
 

OldandStiff

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My short and long missed usually add up close to one of my right or left totals. Usually the right, which is usually slightly less than left. It varies a little over time, and I keep an eye on recent trends. Especially if I'm working on something or using new clubs.

Earlier this year I was going over data looking for things to work on - and you grinters might appreciate this if you rummage around your stats - and find out that with my short irons, off a tee (par 3's) I didn't have a single hit or miss right of center line on the green. Not one. The general numbers were excellent, but I track proximities, and to see all the dots on the left was shocking. Sooo, I overswing with short irons off the tee, and need to work on ball placement and tee height with them too. Who knew? Lol

Love that you're going down the rabbit hole @Daddio . Always something to learn in there.
 
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YukonLiving

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Arccos has changed my game here, and I noticed it a ton as my year progressed. Here are my numbers based on a 50 round average of my 93 rounds tracked on Arccos.

52806106-0384-4F2B-AB91-386BAC11C2DA.jpeg
 

jvbart

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I’m a 20 and my most common miss is short by a long shot. My miss is catching the ball fat which is responsible for me missing the green short quite a bit. I don’t think clubbing up would really help me fix this as my chunks are pretty bad.
6E70DBA7-100B-41C9-B27D-D84785F5D591.jpeg
 

Hitsnmisses

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Reading some of the comments above , they relate to home courses , and the percentage of the misses short long left right etc. This would only be valuable information if one only played that course only , if playing other courses wouldn’t the distances vary, the hole configuration, and other variables? Which would render the information not relevant ?
 

OldandStiff

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Reading some of the comments above , they relate to home courses , and the percentage of the misses short long left right etc. This would only be valuable information if one only played that course only , if playing other courses wouldn’t the distances vary, the hole configuration, and other variables? Which would render the information not relevant ?
What would you assume it's only for home courses? If you're tracking your data/stats, you're likely tracking it all the time. Regardless of course. I've played 15+ courses this year, and the cumulative results are all part of my stats. It might be more relevant towards your home course if that's where the majority of it is logged and you can't separate courses, but for thegrint people it's just a couple taps in the app to get those numbers for each individual course.
 

Hitsnmisses

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What would you assume it's only for home courses? If you're tracking your data/stats, you're likely tracking it all the time. Regardless of course. I've played 15+ courses this year, and the cumulative results are all part of my stats. It might be more relevant towards your home course if that's where the majority of it is logged and you can't separate courses, but for thegrint people it's just a couple taps in the app to get those numbers for each individual course.
Because reading the themes of responses seems to be relatable in the replies understand you tracking it, l imagine if you typically play a course that would relatively straight hole configurations for example and your data capture is x percentage . You play another course and it may have doglegs left and right predominately so the shots you play would be characteristically further away ? Greater margin of error.

lam thinking of it on variables , yes you may have played 15 courses and lucky you , l wish l could have 😁, what’s your secret lol , but how do they relate to each other ? They may all be different topography and layouts ?

Btw, l don’t data capture or analyse, or any apps like grint what ever that is ..l do have Garmin 60 watch , however. l play approx every 3 weeks , so many of life’s other commitments absorb time as you probably know .
 

OldandStiff

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Because reading the themes of responses seems to be relatable in the replies understand you tracking it, l imagine if you typically play a course that would relatively straight hole configurations for example and your data capture is x percentage . You play another course and it may have doglegs left and right predominately so the shots you play would be characteristically further away ? Greater margin of error.

lam thinking of it on variables , yes you may have played 15 courses and lucky you , l wish l could have 😁, what’s your secret lol , but how do they relate to each other ? They may all be different topography and layouts ?

Btw, l don’t data capture or analyse, or any apps like grint what ever that is ..l do have Garmin 60 watch , however. l play approx every 3 weeks , so many of life’s other commitments absorb time as you probably know .
They relate to each other in general trends and the differences highlight strengths and weaknesses. Like at the different types of courses and yardages you mentioned. I'm always a terrible example for these things, and probably not the kind of data the OP is looking for so I'll hold off the screenshots, but comparing my overall percentages like @GraniteRoost posted, and then switching it to certain courses, or certain dates playing certain clubs, or since I've been actively trying something different can really show you things about your game you might not realize during the playing.
 

Hitsnmisses

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They relate to each other in general trends and the differences highlight strengths and weaknesses. Like at the different types of courses and yardages you mentioned. I'm always a terrible example for these things, and probably not the kind of data the OP is looking for so I'll hold off the screenshots, but comparing my overall percentages like @GraniteRoost posted, and then switching it to certain courses, or certain dates playing certain clubs, or since I've been actively trying something different can really show you things about your game you might not realize during the playing.
Only quantum computing , string theory , a algorithm and lunatics could decipher my technique , each shot is original like the masters in painting ) and scarily ,my ball covers the same landscape as them hahahhahhahhaha 😬😏👍🏌🏼
 

Hitsnmisses

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Only quantum computing , string theory , a algorithm and lunatics could decipher my technique , each shot is original like the masters in painting ) and scarily ,my ball covers the same landscape as them hahahhahhahhaha 😬😏👍🏌🏼
I think if you find a snippet or method of improvement no matter how it works if there’s progression then it’s working 😀no one can say your wrong , but more unquantifiable Is the enjoyment smashing the dimpled devil to the hole )
 

TheDoctor

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At my home course, the safer miss is short on pretty much all holes apart from one that has water in front of the green

But there are also quite a few holes where missing long is not what you want either due to OB or leaving yourself a very tricky chip
 

HarlettoScara

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I'm the same as a lot of people here, on my home course, long isn't just penal it's dead for the most part. Only a couple of holes where you can miss long and not be in very deep rough or scrub so short is definitely the miss. Having said that, I have tried to use one extra club and swing a bit easier this year so far and my GIR has gone up considerably. And if I do miss the green I tend to be pin high or thereabouts. I do think a lot of amateurs overestimate their club distances considerably and set themselves up for that perfectly flushed shot every time.
 

DG_1234

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I do think a lot of amateurs overestimate their club distances considerably and set themselves up for that perfectly flushed shot every time.
For several decades now Tour pros have been saying that the most common fault they see from amateurs during Pro Am's is club selection, taking too little club for approach shots.
 

Et Tu Brute?

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Sure, I've looked at plots of shot patterns quite a few times with various shot-tracking technologies. Incontrovertibly anywhere from 100 yards on out there will be more shots "short" than in the direction "left", "right" or "long". If for no other reason, total mishits/duffs/chunks/fatted shots are always short and I hit some of those in every round.

The problem is, there's no information in most app generated data to answer the question of what is the shot pattern with shots that are well struck. But that's the information that matters when you are strategizing about club selection, right?

If it's 120 yards to the hole for me a decently well struck 9-iron will get there or maybe be a couple yards long. Yet I have data showing that 22% of my shots from 100-125 yards come up "short" while only 4% of them come up "long". The problem is I don't know how many of those "short" 22% were shots that resulted from taking too little club. I mean when I look at the plot, there are some shots ending up 30+ yards short from 100-125 yards. Does that mean I should hit three extra clubs every time I'm 120 yards from the hole?

I think automatically collected data on tendency patterns can inform WHAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON with your swing. I do not think that sort of undifferentiated data can be interpreted to tell you what club you ought to be pulling for a certain shot. That decision requires the context of the shot and it requires knowing how all those shots represented on the plot ended up where they are.

In terms of "context" I won't even go into the obvious issue that on most courses (including all the ones I play) the ideal shot distribution is probably to be short 10x as often as you are long because 15-20 yards "short" probably means a routine little chip or pitch shot (or even putt from off the green) while 15-20 yards "long" is most often a double bogey or worse.
 

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